The New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Fllyers are both in unfamiliar situations coming into the final two games of the regular season. The visiting Isles managed to clinch their first playoff berth since 2007 with an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, while the Flyers sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and are mathematically eliminated from any playoff contention for the first time since the same year.
It will be the fourth and final meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. After a brutal 7-0 home loss to Philly earlier in the season, the Islanders responded with a pair of wins to lead the season series 2-1.
A battle of two teams out of the playoff picture happens tonight in Raleigh, NC. What will the storyline be? Will both teams play for pride? Steve Mason gets the start for the Flyers as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.
Only five games remain in this lockout-shortened regular season for the Philadelphia Flyers. These five games serve as a tryout period for players to show why they should or shouldn't stay beyond next season. Some players have already been written off, as it may not make much sense to keep for the future.
Many difficult decisions have to be made this summer, including players that have had extended stints as Flyers.
The Flyers routed the Canadiens on Monday, 7-3. Now they host the Rangers on the next day following a long flight from Montreal. Will they ride off the huge win or will they be too exhausted after a big win?
It's going to be a longer off season for the Flyers than they're used to.
Among the topics heading into the off season is the job security of head coach Peter Laviolette. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren reassured the safety of his head coach.
Via Sam Carchidi's article this morning:
"I haven't even thought along those lines," Holmgren told The Inquirer in a phone conversation. "I think it's been a difficult year because of the situation. We haven't had our whole team all year. I don't blame the coaches.
The Flyers travel to Montreal in hopes of ending their four-game losing streak. It won't be easy though because Montreal is a great home team as well as looking to lock up second place in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers head to Buffalo where they face another team in a similar position. Both teams have some decent ground to make up in the standings with such little time left. Whoever wins this game could give themselves good momentum or a false sense of hope.
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, they find themselves seven points back of the final playoff spot with eight games to go, needing a bevy of extremely unlikely circumstances to occur for them to even slide into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We have a game coming up," head coach Peter Laviolette said after the loss. "We need to win hockey games and focus on the next one."
That may be the only thing the Flyers can do—just try to win with what they have.
(Pictured: Claude Giroux during warm-ups. Photo by Candice Monhollan)